By Mike Kruzman /

Fenton residents who are on food assistance programs may soon be getting help with a utility bill.

A Tuesday’s nights’ work session of Fenton City Council, officials voted to participate in the Water Assistance Program that has been put forth by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and the Bureau of Community Action and Economic Opportunity. The program aids eligible residents in paying water and sewer bills during the time of the pandemic. To find those who are eligible, the city is partnering with Genesee County Community Action Response Department to share billing data which GCCARD will match to people on a food assistance program. Fenton Water Superintendent Stephen Guy said that there will be a challenge in that the data GCCARD uses to match accounts is one that the city doesn’t keep or collect in their records: social security numbers.

Guy said those who do qualify and have an arrearage will receive help first, with up to $700 in water and sewer assistance.

The program has $25-million worth of funding to help residents across the state. If, after the arrearage assistance is paid there is still money left over, then eligible customers will get a 25% discount on their water bills until the money is gone or the year ends. Participation doesn’t cost the city anything, as while they will provide the discount, the program will then reimburse them. Funding is only available for arrearages that began in March of 2020 or later.

It’s estimated that up to 200 accounts with arrearages in Fenton could benefit from the City’s participation.